Army detected Pakistan infiltration bid 4 days after being alerted
By Yatish Yadav | Published: 03rd October 2013 09:39 AM |
On September 19, intelligence agencies intercepted a telephone conversation emanating from Pak-occupied Kashmir, hinting at a terrorist build-up along the Line of Control.
Sources said a highly confidential input that terrorists are trying to launch a massive infiltration bid with the active support of Pakistani soldiers was shared with agencies including the Army. But the Army detected the infiltration bid only on September 23 when the first exchange of fire took place.
The alert had said it would be the last major push by the ISI this year before the snowfalls hit the route through the dense Lashdut forest in mid-October.
“They had taken advantage of the intervening period during the handover of the post which takes some time. They came to the Indian territory near Shalbathe village in Kupawara district which was abandoned in 1990s by the residents owing to insurgency. After the firing started, the terrorist retreated into the forest but are still holed up there. We don’t know their exact number, but they are heavily armed and equipped with satellite phones which they use to contact their Pakistani handlers,” a source said.
The source said two terrorist squads -- one trying to infiltrate and the other trying to cross over to Shalbathe to guide the former inside Indian territory -- are trapped. They said several terrorists could have been killed in encounters with the Army, as a huge cache of arms such as AK-47 rifles and grenades was recovered from the area. “We haven’t been able to recover bodies so far but a technical input suggests that many have been killed. Technical evidence indicates that terrorists are also getting support from the Border Action Team of the Pakistani army which has a unit in Neelam valley in PoK,” the source added.
The operation in the Lashdut forest is a monumental task as hundreds of small nullahs (ravines) inside the dense forest provide ideal cover to terrorists.